Anna Ziegler’s Insightful Another Way Home at the Magic Theatre
Anna Ziegler’s world premiere of her comedy drama Another Way Home hits home concerning the alienation and communication between parents and their children today. And it also depicts family life and the problems of a couple’s marriage relationship
Joey has been sent to a summer camp by his New York Jewish parents, Lillian and Phillip who decide to visit him. When they arrive his mother flippantly announces that the fifteen year old has had ADD, ADHD, autism, anxiety and mood problems, and finally depression. Joey resents his Mother’s overly protective attitude when, among other things, she advises him to use lotion on his skin to avoid getting a cancer. A depressed Joey blurts out at one point “I’d better enjoy life before life turns to shit!” Joey’s indifference angers his father who reminds him that he has paid for his camp vacation. This triggers the disappearance of Joey who runs away followed by his parents searching for him for hours. Joey’s friend and counselor Mike T encounters Joey and tries to tell him about how fortunate he is to have such caring parents. Meanwhile as they search for Joey his frightened parents wonder whether Joey has fallen off a cliff or is wounded or killed himself. This leads to torturing each other with accusations of poor parenthood that begin to tear their marriage apart as the play moves to its dramatic climax.
Vividly directed by Meredith McDonough, the play’s action moves forward with a good use of the space and with movement and speech that are expressive and well projected to an audience seated three quarters around a bare wooden stage. Annie Smart’s propless stage appeals to the spectator’s imagination to envisage a summer camp along with her simple costume design that suits each of the characters
Dynamic interpretations are played of the mother by Kim Martin-Cotten and the father by Mark Pinter, with a challenging teen age characterization of a negative, depressed Joey by Daniel Petzoid, and believable interpretations by Jeremy Kahn as Joey’s friend Mike T. and Riley Krull as daughter Nora.
Ending more like a drama than a comedy, Ziegler’s insightful piece pulls at the heart strings of parents or children involved in the problems of parental upbringing. Although the play may be less gripping for spectators who have never been in a parental relationship, it is nonetheless a moving portrayal that grabs you as the playwright empathetically depicts the inner feelings of parents in times of fear, anxiety and crisis concerning their children. Beyond this the playwright pertinently touches on the alienation and the difficulty of communication between parents and children in the 21st century.
The Magic Theatre intrepidly continues its 45 years of new play development with the production of challenging works such as Another Way Home.
Another Way Home runs until December 2nd. For information and tickets for this play and future productions call 415-441.8822 or visit www.magictheatre.org